No fewer that 41 pro-Biafra agitators were on Monday arrested at different parts of Enugu State.
They are said to be members of the Biafra Independent Movement (BIM) and the Movement for the Actualization of the Sovereign State of Biafra, MASSOB.
The agitators had stormed major locations across the State as part of their activities to mark the Biafra Remembrance Day.
Reacting to the arrest, leader of the group, Ralph Uwazurike, who expressed anger over the development, described it as unwarranted.
Uwazuruike insisted that the police should explain why they would not release his members, adding that “those calling for sit-at-home were cowards.”
While calling for the immediate release of his members, he said they would not participate in the sit-at home slated to hold on the 30th May, 2017.
However, spokesman of the Enugu State Police Command, Mr. Ebere Amaraizu, who confirmed the arrest, said the pro-Biara agitators were earlier warned not to embark on any violent protest.
He said the BIM members defied the order and that the police had to arrest them.
Amariaizu said in a statement that, “no fewer than fourty one persons suspected to be members of the Biafran Independence movement (BIM) were nabbed by security operatives of the command from various parts of Enugu metropolis in the morning of Monday 22/5/15 based on intelligence information that they were about to conduct themselves in a manner likely to cause the breach of peace. Investigations into their alleged activities have begun.”
He said the police earlier cautioned of “plans by some group masquerading under the aegis of Biafran Independence Movement (BIM) amongst others, to embark on violent protest within the state and its environs which is capable of disturbing the already existing peace in the state, as hoodlums may as well cash in on that to wreck havoc on the law abiding citizens of the state.
“In view of the above, the command advises on the need for members of the public to be law abiding by shunning any act capable of bringing them in conflict with the law as anyone caught will be made to face the consequence in accordance with the relevant sections of the law. The command advises members of the public to go about their normal lawful businesses.”
But on their part, MASSOB, through Comrade Samuel Edeson, its National Director of Information, said those arrested were not their members.
Edeson, in a statement, disclosed that, “they are members of Biafra Independent Movement (BIM) observing their own Biafra day.
“MASSOB under the leadership of Comrade Uchenna Madu will observed the 50th anniversary of declaration of Biafra by General Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu on 30th May, 2017 with a sit at home exercise in honor and remembrance of Biafra gallant soldiers and civilians that laid down their lives for the establishment of the Republic of Biafra during the genocidal war against the people of Biafra in 1967–1970.
“We will also remember the victims of the current struggle for the actualization and restoration of Biafra. MASSOB is not against BIM or any other group but warned that we should not be attached to Uwazuruike led BIM. We have only one MASSOB under the leadership of our leader, Comrade Uchenna Madu.”